List of Works
Akhenaten, Op. 51 No. 2
a Dramatic Suite in Four Movements
Composed: 1979 (rev. 1982)
Dedication: For Marion
Performance Time: 40 min.
Preview: see below to preview the choral score for Mvt. IV, "AKHET-ATEN"
Score available from: Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at Free Library of Philadelphia.
3 Flutes (Picc.)
3 Oboes (Eng. Hn.)
3 Bb Clarinets (Eb and Bass Cl.)
4 Horns in F
4 Trumpets (C and Bb)
- Percussion (6 players)
TENOR (or baritone) SOLOIST
- assorted, plus...
3,300 years ago Pharoah Akhenaten declared himself god over all Upper and Lower Egypt. By this decree he challenged the prevailing order throughout his Empire. Hence he became sole god to rule the Universe.
In spite of the maxim 'history does not repeat itself,' a parallel can be drawn today between Akhenaten and society.
Certainly contemporary art in its design is strongly indicative of Egyptian influence: our architecture, aesthetics in painting, inventive devices in music. More pointedly is the prevailing power complex which defies the pretentions of existing forces.
The music reflects eidetic images. The paramnesia: an illusory impression -- something previously experienced (déjà vu), heard (déjà entendu), understood (déjà compris), fulfilled (fait accompli).
- Mvt. I: RA . . . . déjà vu
- When the sun rises, the world is a beautiful thing to behold. Whether you see it rise on the horizon over a mountain top, through the green leaves of a forest, or in between the shafts of skyscrapers . . . for you and me it will remain a symbol of a hope never dying. The sun speaks with a promise, to some even of fulfillment, but to all of us it is the Spring of vitality.
In the days of Akhenaten for the Egyptians, RA -- the sun, was the supreme god. And rightly so: from the sun comes the fruit of the earth, and it is from the fruit of the earth we gather our strength for a continued life. Truly, the sun is the great wonder of the world, for its light reflects everything we are.
- Mvt. II: THE NILE . . . . déjà entendu
- For the Egyptans it was the Nile, for the Latins it is the Amazon, but for us it will always be the Mississippi . . . so we are told. We rarely question things that are taken for granted. It isn't until you have swum, fished, rowed, or taken a journey on any one you begin to live the beauty and even terror which sometimes threeatens, and as quickly vanishes. Before the majecty of these waters you somehow feel the littleness of self. For these bodies of water reach out to let you know: not all is lost. That at your very last hour there will always be something to hold you safe.
- Mvt. III: THE SPHYNX . . . . déjà compris
- I see.............. yet time is sightless.
I speak.......... do the sands remember?
I hear............ but who will hear me?
- Mvt. IV: AKHET-ATEN . . . . fait accompli
- (for tenor or baritone solo, SATB chorus, orchestra)
Preview: SCORE (pp.1-10) (pdf, 1.8 MB); SCORE (pp.10-25) (pdf, 2.7 MB)
There can only be one Aten. Its majesty gathers all divided into an entity.
I, Amonhotep, to please Aten, am reborn Akhen-Aten.
The will of Akhet-Aten we emulate Aten. Erect and worship him in Akhet-Aten.
O wondrous-radiant Aten! from Whence all life springs out of this earth: the mountains, waters, fruits. For you we labor, thrive, create and multiply.
Divided we sink into the shadows. As one we rise again each day.
So far and yet so near, your rays embrace all that lives. Brings peace. Contentment. Fulfillment.
There can only be one Aten. His covenant: Life bring peace on earth.